In laws, racism and christening. WWYD?(30 Posts)
I'm really struggling with my in laws at the moment and we've reached a point where I have to make an uncomfortable decision.
They are racist. Xenophobic too. Generally unpleasant. I've managed to have very little contact with them since DD was born 7 months ago and DH knows why. He accepts that they're a little out of order but they are his family and he excuses them sometimes.
Yesterday MIL and SIL turned up at my door. Came for a "chat" because it's time to Christen DD. All fine so far but 5 minutes into things they started. Casually throwing out racist slurs because SIL's 18 year old DD has a new friend who's mixed race. Moaning about all the immigration. Suggesting we build a Trump style wall to keep them all out.
I said nothing and they didn't stay long. Normally I can just forget it but DD's Christening. My DBro got married last month to the most wonderful woman who just happens to be from Poland. I don't give two shits because she is lovely and makes him happy. They're aware of this and have already "joked" about her getting until the country. Lots of my family and friends are of different races and nationalities. One wears a hijab. In laws are all from the same three street patch of village.
I have to have DBro there. But I think they have to be invited too. I can't trust them not to offend everyone and I don't want DD's day tainted.
AIBU to just cancel the whole thing? Not get her christened for fear of them ruining it?
Your DH needs to stop excusing their behaviour and tell them in no uncertain terms that racist comments will not be tolerated around you or your family, especially as your new sister in law isn't English.
Their comments are vile. Don't feel like you have to "tolerate" it for the sake of family relations.
If getting her christened is so important, why not just do it with the God parents?
We thought about that but the fallout from only involving my family would be too much.
I'd go ahead but pre warn your new SIL that your DH's family can be a bit thoughtless.
Chances are nothing will be said especially if you can keep them apart. People tend to stick to their own groups anyway. Presumably you coped with having your friends and DH's family in the same room at your wedding?
Your DH needs to tell them, before the day, to behave themselves and if he hears any shitty comments on the day itself, have the courage to ask them to leave.
FFS worrying about fallout for not inviting racist xenophobes to a christening, is a sad state of affairs. I understand how you feel, but we should be strong and not bend to such people. If they make a foolof themselves then they make a fool of themselves , no reflection on you or your day.
I would be taking them to task quite firmly and stating that she is family as are others and if they say anything inappropriate they will be leaving and they won't be included in anything further.
I unfortunately had to take the same route with an ex friend after they made some very unpleasant comments about a dear friend of mine who happens to be mixed race.
As an aside tell your DH to grow a pair and out his family firmly in their place. He either sides with you on this issue or he can fuck right off too!
elQuinto puts it well. You are not responsible for other people's behaviour. Ask your DH to speak to them prior to the christening. If they still conduct themselves inappropriately then it is they that will look small minded and racist. It won't be a reflection on child's special day.
Just don't invite them.
Explain the above. They'll be uncomfortable/others will be offended blah blah.
Treat it the same as any other poor behaviour.
He needs put his foot down and tell them it won't be tolerated. My parents are like this, especially when they've got a drink in them. They don't think they are, they make comments and I say 'that's offensive' and either I'm being oversensitive or 'it's a joke'.
Prior to my wedding I sat them down and said 'Look, DH's grandmother fled the holocaust, his cousins are mixed race, his aunt is a lesbian, my friends are gay, my other friend is genderqueer (at the time was presenting as mostly male but with eyeliner and nail polish, style of thing), and if you say anything offensive, to anyone, at any point, you will be escorted out and miss the rest of the day.'
Luckily, I think my parents are much less likely to say anything to anyone's face than they are to pass comment safely indoors with only other 'normal' people present. At my engagement party my Mum hissed 'does she have to do that here' in my ear as a friend breastfed her toddler quietly in a corner, but wouldn't have dared to actually say anything to the person in question.
TL:DR: YABU to cancel the whole thing, YANBU to lay down ground rules beforehand.
Tbh, I think the problem here is that you & dh aren't tackling it - they are carrying on purely because they think they can get away with it - and they are right. You AND dh need to call them on it. Every time. Not aggressively, but calmly and with confidence. You need to back each other up very overtly, so they see this is the opinion you both hold.
Depending on how much time there is before the christening, you (by you, I mean dh!) may now have to have a specific conversation about who is coming, and that you/he expect them to be on their best behaviour. But actually, this is about you standing up to them in general, so they know where you stand. I certainly wouldn't un-invite them without tackling the behaviour.
As others have said, often these sort of people will only voice their opinions when they feel 'safe' 'with People Like Us' so you may find they are better behaved at the christening in different company - although I know that's not always the case.
They will only be letting themselves down, they do not reflect your opinions. When they are racist pull them up on it, every time.
My mother does stuff like this.
Each and every time at events I intentionally have people ready to challenge her vile comments and remove her if needed.
I'd just get on with the christening and invite everybody. It's unlikely she'll actually say/do anything to expose her racism/bigotry at the christening but if she does, she'll look like an arsewipe. You can't change people like this but I wouldn't create more tension by not inviting her.
I agree to tackle it and stop them in their tracks whenever they start.
I know a few people like this and like their, now older Teen children are ashamed and disgusted by them. Two, in particular, their children are going to Uni's the other end of the Country and won't be coming back.
The christening probably won't be a problem because people like them tend to keep their ridiculous views to themselves in mixed company. However, that doesn't solve the ongoing problem - you need to get tougher.
Tell them you only want people who model Christian behaviour to attend your child's christening.
Just let everyone know that your in laws are fucking twats. Everyone will be prepared for their slurs and no one will hold that against you.
You need to stop staying nothing. You and your husband need to say you dont agree with them and that their views are offensive each time they start. Not saying anything looks like you agree with them.
My in laws are much the same. I think they used to actually amp it up around me because they knew it would me up.
After many attempts at a sensible debate, I now cut them off as soon as they start - I just say 'I don't want to hear this kind of awful rubbish' or something similar - and I've made it clear they will never, ever be left alone with my kids, because I can't trust them not to drip this poison in their ears. They know this, and it hurts them, but tough. I told them how I felt and they carried on.
In my experience you won't change them OP. Their opinions aren't based on reason or experience, just ignorance. But you can change how you react to it. If you feel you can't trust them around your friends and family because of their repugnant views, tell them that. It might make them realise that spouting this crap has actual consequences for real people.
I would just invite the godparents, at the end of the day they're all that need to be there at a christening, unless you're doing it for the party you can keep it as small as you like.
And agree with Rain, cut them off as soon as they start and make sure your DH backs you up.
I've asked DH to speak to them later. You're right, he does need to stand up to them.
I've tried calmly explaining why I think they're being offensive and got nowhere so I'm going to go with the stronger approach. Next time they offend me I'll tell them I don't want to hear it.
Luckily in day-to-day life I rarely see them. They don't make the effort with DD!
What would happen if you told them that if they cant promise not to be racist they can't go to the christening?
MIL would become hysterical (she's a tad narc and histrionic) and I'd be expected to apologise. I'm still going to give them that ultimatum though.
I don't want DD growing up thinking it's OK to be a bigot. They're homophobic, too. I understand they are from a different generation but my parents somehow manage to be inclusive of everyone!
Ino ive had similar conversations with relatives its difficult but has to be done. I might if i were you allow her to get hysterical and remaim really...give her enough rope to hang herself with iyswim.
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